Approximately $386 million in federal funds are set to go to 180 transportation projects in 95 jurisdictions across all nine Bay Area Counties through the One Bay Area Grant 2 (OBAG 2) County Program. OBAG 2, which also has a Regional Program, is the policy framework for MTC’s distribution of $862 million in federal Surface Transportation Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds from Fiscal Years 2017-18 to 2021-2022.
The OBAG 2 County Program of Projects was approved by the MTC Commission at the end of 2017. A majority of OBAG 2 County Program funds will be directed to active transportation projects including bicycle and pedestrian projects (15%), Safe Routes to School (8%), and Transportation for Livable Communities (34%) projects, which are generally oriented to bicycle access and walkability but also include streetscape improvements, road diets, or transit elements.
Along with approval of the County Program project recommendations, commissioners also approved revisions to the OBAG 2 Project Selection and Programming Policy to clarify program details for the 80k by 2020 Challenge Grant initiative, a pilot program to incentivize the production of affordable housing. These revisions include:
- Increasing the number of jurisdictions eligible to receive the challenge grant from 10 to 15;
- Clarifying that the preservation, in addition to permitting, of affordable housing units will be credited in the program; and
- Adding a provision that at least one jurisdiction from each county will be awarded a challenge grant.
OBAG funds are important not only because they represent a significant amount of money, they are also among the most flexible fund sources available to MTC. This has allowed MTC’s commissioners to link transportation funding with key regional policy goals such as focusing growth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, incentivizing the production and preservation of affordable housing, and giving local jurisdictions the flexibility to meet their own transportation needs, among others. The OBAG program is one of the primary mechanisms by which MTC is able to implement the vision laid out in Plan Bay Area 2040, the region’s long-range transportation and land use plan.